Oakland based artist Christopher Blackstock creates the ‘The Lone Stranger’ a series of illustrations that explore the life of an imagined character who finds himself experiencing the ultimate journey of self-discovery in a hallucinatory, post-apocalyptic remote desert area. The vibrant, cartoonish aesthetic puts emphasis on the surrealism of it all. Finding yourself in a desolated space can become lonely but exciting all at once.
According to the artist, the stranger, the recurring character, has experienced his fair share of tragedy and is now in search for answers, and maybe some sort of redemption through a spiritual quest. His tale, one of existential turmoil, redemption and self-discovery coincides with the collapse of the ecosystem as climate change reaches a more advanced stage and renders California completely arid.
Blackstock, a muiti-media artist who works in painting, sculpture and illustration, rendered these as digital drawings first and then turned them into laser-cut panels which were then placed onto canvas and hand-painted with acrylic and spray-paint.
Blackstock’s ‘The Lone Stranger’ will be on view at Oakland’s Loakal, starting July 4th through July 30th, 2014.
Don’t we all love to hate those kitschy landscape paintings at the local thrift store? I know I do. But what if we can make them became exciting again?
Artists Chris McMahon and Thryza Segal give thrift shop paintings new life by embedding monster-like creatures. The finished product resembles a pop-surrealist version of Nickelodeon’s Aaahh! Real Monsters.
Both artist carefully blend the monsters into the original scene as if they were always there. The process can be tricky, since it can be a challenge to match the original textures and colors, but it can be said that their attempts have been a success. They are pretty awesome.
Brooklyn-based artist Hannah Kunkle puts Kim Kardashian on the altar, literally. Kunkle delivers Kardashian as the Virgin Mary, Medusa, the devil and even Kleopatra. With a flashy net-art inspired aesthetic, the artist takes Kim’s iconic, worshiped image and puts it to work, naturally, with religious/cultish iconography. The controversial juxtaposition is rather riveting as its subtle insights perfectly captures the absurdity of our nation’s obsession with Kardashian and celeb idolatry in general. “We have accepted her into our lives via television screens, memes, and Instagram feeds”, she says. “If Jay Z is the father and Yeezus is the son, then she is the ever-present holy ghost of pop culture.”
According to the Huffpost, Kunkle’s recent exhibition in Bushwich titled “The Passion of Kim Kardashian” caused some controversy amongst the religious community in New York. “It’s deplorable,” Pastor Reggie Stutzman of Real Life Church told The New York Daily News. “It’s sacrilegious, irrelevant, and disrespectful… It’s idol worship.” The Hindu community had opinions about it too. “I am certainly not happy about this,” said Dr. Uma Mysorekar, of the Hindu Temple Society of North America. “Any religious symbol should not be used or abused.” (Via Huff Post)
Argentinian artist Agustina Woodgate creates these colorful and complex rugs made out of the skins that once belonged to a few hundred abandoned stuffed animals. Originally inspired by Eastern Culture’s symbolic use of rugs [as they often depict the spiritual and mental world in woven form], Agustina was looking to ultimately deliver an alternative memory object that displays and references personal histories.
Woodgate’s idea started by her relationship with her own old Teddy bear, Pepe. On an interview with Sight Unseen, she says:
It was simply an object. But I also didn’t want to throw it away. That’s when I decided wanted to do something with the bear. In the beginning of the process, I had no idea what was going to happen. I went to a thrift store, got another bear, and started playing around. I looked at all the components that make up a stuffed animal: the stuffing, the fabric, the stitching. I wanted to approach an everyday object in the hopes of making something new.
Woodgate was recently awarded the Florida Prize in Contemporary Art. The $20,000 prize was accepted by Woodgate last Friday at the Orlando Museum of Art, which established the award this year. “She was chosen based on the quality and significance of her overall body of work and contributions to the field of contemporary art”, said museum curator Hansen Mulford.
Artist Jason DeMarte‘s photography juxtaposes sublime, remote landscapes and commercially produced and processed products such as Cheetos, Donuts or chips. The odd pairing can go two ways, for one, his work may spark an intriguing dialog between what’s man-made and what runs wild, second, the compositions might be alluding to our new-found pleasure in consuming these products. What once gave us so much life and inspiration (breathtaking landscapes, natural phenomena) is now second to last in our list of pleasurable things to experience.
DeMarte, however, presents this pairing in beautiful ways- ultimately making them coexist in a way that we never thought possible.
“I represent the natural world through completely unnatural elements to speak metaphorically and symbolically of our mental separation from what is ‘real’.”
With regular vinyl tape, Glasgow-based artist Jim Lambie transforms any given space into a colorful, mesmerizing landscape that often create optical illusions. There is no beginning and no end, no contraction and no expansion- in turn, Lanbie says that his construction “somehow evaporates the hard edge off and pulls you towards more of a dreamscape.” Much like the iconic, giant works of the Abstract Expressionists, its composition is hypnotic, abysmal, and sometimes spiritual, but always bit disorienting at first.
The labor intensive intallations take up to several weeks to complete, but that is no excuse to stop making them. As a former musician, the artist draws on musical references as inspiration. Often time, the titles of his pieces refer to iconic bands or songs, including The Doors, Morrison Hotel (2005), and Careless Whisper (2009). The design of his installations depend on the architecture of the space; each and every one of these are unique and transient installations that cannot be exactly reproduced anywhere else.
California-based artist Gregory Kloehn was tired of making sculptures for rich people. “It just sits there,” he said. “I kind of think that if you’re putting so much effort into something it would be nice if it actually did something.”
With the help of a close knit art community, Kloehn began his Homeless Homes Project, a collaborative endevour that provides sturdy, innovative and mobile shelters for the homeless.
They look like sculptures, but they actually serve a purpose.
Kloehn starts the process by installing beds, sinks, stoves, and storage shelves on regular old dumpsters and shipping containers. All of the ‘amenities’ are made with repurposed materials found on the streets.
To prove that his dumpster homes are fit to live, the artist put it to the test. He has actually lived in one that he built for himself, and fitted with such conveniences as granite counter topped kitchen, a microwave, a mini-stove, a fridge, and even a cushioned sofa.
With a successful run, Kloehn is a now a full-time home builder. So far he has built 10 tiny homes, some of which have already found tenants. (via Amusing Planet)
There is a reason why Amy Bennett‘s paintings look like dioramas. In fact, it is part of her process to build miniature dioramas of various scenarios before the painting process begins. When completed, these miniature constructions are used as models for the pieces you see here. The paintings, she says, are “glimpses of a scene or fragments of a narrative. Similar to a memory, they are fictional constructions of significant moments meant to elicit specific feelings.”
This arduous process is perhaps a way to reconstruct the process of memory making itself. When we construct memories, we are feeling and living that specific moment. When we are trying to reenact or recall that memory, it all feels distant, blurry, and small. In this case, the painter’s initial construction (the physical building of the diorama) and re-constrution of it (trough painting) mirrors this process.
I am interested in storytelling over time through repeated depictions of the same house or car or person, seasonal changes, and shifting vantage points. Like the disturbing difficulty of trying to put rolls of film in order several years after the pictures have been taken, my aim is for the collective images to suggest a known past that is just beyond reach.